When I was in school, Pluto was just a name of a far-away planet.
We knew it’s orbit, mass and estimated diameter, but those were all indirectly calculated. The only images we had of Pluto looked like points of light.
So there was mounting excitement world-wide as New Horizons approached within 1.4 million miles of Pluto on July 14, after a 7-year journey. Instead of a frozen rock in space, we were surprised to discover dynamic ice flows.
Well, hello there gorgeous!
Besides capturing the imagination of the public, the scientific data has entirely changed our understanding of the outer solar system. You can’t hope for more from a single mission than that.
Congratulations to the New Horizons team for discovering a new world!